UNICO National Early Beginnings
UNICO National had its beginning on October 10th , 1922 when a group of fifteen motivated men led Dr Anthony P. Vastola met in Waterbury, Connecticut. They responded to his leadership and chartered his dream of creating a service group of men of Italian heritage who would perform charitable, educational and patriotic deeds for the assistance and benefit of their fellowmen and country.
The name UNICO was chosen for the organization because of its appropriateness. UNICO means “unique” in Italian. The group would be the only one of its kind as it would encourage all Italian-Americans to greater civic mindedness. It would ask its members to make sacrifices, not for personal gain, but for service to others. Later, the letters in UNICO were to represent Unity, Neighborliness, Integrity, Charity and Opportunity to serve others
.With steadfastness and devotion, in 1925, the second chapter of UNICO was formed in Torrington, Connecticut.. During the next several years, the inspiration of the UNICO goals reached out to other Connecticut cities culminating in the Connecticut Secretary of State granting an official charter on July 12th, 1933.
The first UNICO Chapter to be established outside of the state of Connecticut was in Trenton, New Jersey. The Trenton, New Jersey Chapter was founded by Dr. Joseph Pantelone who had become friends with Dr. Vastola while serving as an intern at the Waterbury Hospital in Waterbury, Connecticut.
The goals and purpose of UNICO continued to meet a need of the Italian community. With a number of Chapters in existence, Dr. Pantelone suggested a plan to associate the independent chapters of UNICO into a group known as the National UNICO CLUBS. These talented and committed clubs held their first national convention in 1930 in New York City. Dr. Vastola was selected Honorary President of the first National election.